Non-Fiction Review: Revelation for Everyone by N.T. Wright

I’d been searching the local used bookstore for months, looking for a work on Revelation. When NetGalley offered it, I jumped all over it. 🙂 So I read it, then got busy. I’ve been juggling the review for Revelation for Everyone by N.T. Wright to make way for other books I’ve read. I just need to get this one done. As I mentioned earlier, tonight’s the night of reviews. The blurb from Goodreads:

N. T. Wright has undertaken a tremendous task: to provide guides to all the books of the New Testament, and to include in them his own translation of the entire text. Each short passage is followed by a highly readable discussion, with background information, useful explanations and suggestions, and thoughts as to how the text can be relevant to our lives today. A glossary is included at the back of the book. The series is suitable for group study, personal study, or daily devotions.

I loved the beginning of this book where it talked about the letters. While in high school, I’d never been much interested in history. In fact, it was a chore. These days, history has piqued my interest, and N.T. Wright really covered the historical relevance of Revelation.

Mr. Wright managed to turn the letters from a “Yah, yah… so what?” to “Really? That’s that’s why each letter had a particular focus?” I came away from the first few chapters of Revelation with new understandings I could apply to my life.

The rest of the book relied on a lot of speculation which may or may not be true in the end, yet was presented as fact. Basically, Mr. Wright took areas of the Revelation (the dragon, the beast, etc) and assigned symbolic meanings to them. Is the symbolism he used accurate? Who can say until all is revealed?

As for me, I’m more of an individual who prefers the bible presented with factual and historical evidence, as Mr. Wright did for the seven letters. However, his interpretation for the latter parts of Revelation were still interesting, and I believe most venturing into the final book of the bible would come out with more knowledge overall.

I recommend Revelation for Everyone to anyone who has general or little knowledge of Revelation and wants to dig deeper.

Available at: Barnes & Nobles and The Book Depository

 

 

 

 

Non-Fiction Review: Am I Really a Christian? by Mike McKinley

I saw this book in one of the newsletters NetGalley sent out. The title immediately grabbed my attention, so I requested a copy which NetGalley approved. My husband used to say I was being judgmental because I didn’t believe everyone who said they’re a Christian will experience the paradise spoke about in the bible. So I was quite curious to read what another had to say on the topic. Before we hit the review, the blurb from Goodreads:

McKinley challenges nominal Christians to take a deeper look at themselves.

Jesus divided the world into two groups—those who follow him and those who don’t. But what happens when someone thinks he or she is a Christian, but isn’t? With his witty, engaging style, Mike McKinley takes readers on a journey of what it means to be a Christian. He asserts that “manipulative evangelism techniques and a poor understanding of the gospel have resulted in an abundance of professing Christians who have no idea what it means to follow Christ.”

Each chapter title begins with “You’re not a Christian [if/when/just because you]…” As he surveys what it means to be Christian, McKinley offers criteria for evaluating one’s standing before God. Readers are guided through a series of challenges to reflect, repent, remember, and report to another person. Am I Really a Christian? ends with chapters on salvation and the local church. This unique book is written for nominal or new Christians and can be used in personal or small-group study.

One thing I want to emphasize is this book is not aimed at non-Christians. It’s not meant to convert the non-believer or convince the non-believer that Christianity is the only way. Instead, it focuses on individuals who claim to be Christian and helps those individuals examine their lives, so they don’t miss the boat.

Much of what Mr. McKinley said, I knew to be true. It’s clearly laid out in the bible. I don’t know who has a ticket and who doesn’t, but I do know the bible says something to the effect of the gate is small and the road is narrow and few will find it. So logically, it makes sense to me that not everyone who boasts to be a Christian is going to find the path. Especially when considering upwards of 60,70, 80% of Americans believe they’re Christians. Who knows the figures in other countries. Few doesn’t equal the majority.

So the question is: if one truly believes the information in the bible, wouldn’t he/she want to be sure to be on the right track rather than one of the many who think they’re walking down the right path, only to find too late they’re on the broad road? Am I Really a Christian? is like stopping and asking for directions. In the end, some might receive a wake up call, but also might find hope and an opportunity to step on the road they’d meant to travel.

I loved that this book doesn’t focus on hells fire and damnation. It doesn’t try to scare folks into becoming a Christian or scare people who claim to be a Christian into behaving right. Instead, it identifies markers which might suggest one is or isn’t a Christian. Not by way of finger pointing, which can be so easy (That person’s not a Christian. That person isn’t. That person is.) No. None of that. It isn’t about whether others want to classify a person as a goat or a sheep. Rather it helps a person examine his/her walk with the help of those in the Christian community.

Even though this is a work tailored toward those who believe they’re Christian, I still think it’s a great read for non-Christians. Why? Because I believe the worldview on Christianity is tainted by those who profess to be Christian but act in non-Christian ways in the name of Christianity. Am I Really a Christian? is truly insightful.

Am I Really a Christian?
by Mike McKinley
is avilable at:

The Book Depository

Barnes & Nobles

Non-Fiction Review: Women Food and God by Geneen Roth

I’m not usually a non-fiction fan. Typically, I only purchase non-fiction books as reference materials. Not sure why I wanted to try out Women Food and God by Geneen Roth, but I decided to enter a Goodreads giveaway for it. Lucky me, I won! 🙂 I have a feeling Goodreads giveaways and I are going to be fast friends. I entered the giveaway not knowing if this would be a book to skim or not. After reading just the prologue, I realized this baby read more like a memoir than a how to get thin book. So, I settled in for a read. Before I get into the review, how about a blurb from Goodreads:

No matter how sophisticated or wealthy or broke or enlightened you are, how you eat tells all.

After three decades of studying, teaching and writing about our compulsions with food, bestselling author Geneen Roth adds a powerful new dimension to her work in Women Food and God. She begins with her most basic concept: The way you eat is inseparable from your core beliefs about being alive. Your relationship with food is an exact mirror of your feelings about love, fear, anger, meaning, transformation and, yes, even God.

A timeless and seminal work, Women Food and God shows how going beyond the food and the feelings takes you deeper into realms of spirit and soul—to the bright center of your own life.

I only made it a few pages into Women Food and God before I knew I would enjoy this book. Ms. Roth filled the pages with story after story which were entertaining while also educational and touching. She had an interesting take on the relationship one has with food and spirituality. I don’t subscribe to her beliefs 100% but do find merit in a lot of what she preaches.

For example, I’ve never considered myself as one who eats to numb myself to feelings. However, I imagine a lot of individuals out there do. On the other hand, her examples of people she called permitters was all me. On page 156, she had this to say:

You’re sitting in front of a chocolate cake and you notice you want the entire thing right now. You don’t care whether the band around your small intestine from the operation you just had breaks. You don’t care if anyone else in the group gets a piece. You want it all.

This is my relationship with food. I want it, not because I’m sad, not because I’m hurting, not because I’m broken. I want it simply because it’s there… and I want it all until it’s gone. It tempts me, it taunts me, it calls to me. And the only way to get the food to shut up is to eat it all right then and there.

A lot of the book was about learning or rather relearning to love oneself. To recognize and understand why one has the compulsion to overeat. I wasn’t always a gorger. As a kid, I gorged like nobody’s business. Of course back then, I was as thin as a rail. I left high school weighing only 112 lbs but could pack away food like a grown man. Sometime during my adulthood, I realized I didn’t have to eat EVERYTHING right then and there. I could save some for later. I didn’t have to leave the table with my tummy hurting. Women Food and God was a reminder of what I’d forgotten not too long ago. On page 157, Ms. Roth follows up with:

Good thing you notice. You don’t judge yourself. You don’t think that wanting it all means anything about the kind of person you are. You don’t tell yourself how selfish you are, and if the others knew that you wanted it all, they’d throw you out. None of that. You bring yourself back to the present moment, and since your body is right here, right now, since hunger or lack of it is also right here, you ask yourself if you are hungry. Simple. Am I hungry?

When I go back for seconds, thirds, and please don’t tell anyone, but fourths and fifths, I can guarantee I’m not hungry by then. I even know I’m not going to like the way my body feels after it’s stuffed, yet I persist. Now if that isn’t crazy, I don’t know what is.

Okay, so the example I used above may not apply to you. Here’s the thing, Ms. Roth addresses so many issues in this short book, one might be hard pressed to find everything applies to them. Like I said, I didn’t jive with all she said 100%, but quite a bit of it hit home.

One item I disliked about this book, but at the same time found beneficial was the repetition. Ms. Roth said the same thing a hundred and seven different ways… and sometimes exactly the same way twice. Here’s the thing, whenever I thought to myself, this doesn’t apply and can we just get on to the next part, she repeated the information in a way which was relevant to me personally. If I could take all the filler out to get to just the parts which inspired me personally, this book would be perfect.

If you’re struggling with weight, if you’re tired of dieting, if you want to love yourself, I highly recommend reading this book.

Woman Food and God by Geneen Roth is available at:

The Book Depository

Barnes & Nobles

You’re sitting in front of a chocolate cake and you 

notice you want the entire thing right now. You don’t care whether

the band around your small intestine from the operation you just

had breaks. You don’t care if anyone else in the group gets a

piece. You want it all.